Christopher Coward was sentenced to five years to prison for stealing a car, eluding police and hitting two motorists while fleeing from police. He was found not guilty of assaulting a police officer.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Porter was pleased with Judge Donald Haddock’s sentence. “I was very pleased with the sentence,” Porter said. “I think Judge Haddock did the right thing by imposing a sentence at the high end of the defendant’s sentencing guidelines. By so doing, he emphasized that the defendant’s actions placed both police officers and innocent citizens in peril.”
The incident occurred on April 29, 2004, at about 7:30 p.m. Members of the police department’s Street Crimes Unit were on patrol in Old Town when they observed a black Mercedes Benz sedan matching the description of one that had been stolen in a carjacking incident in Prince Georges County on April 24. Officers ran the license plate and found the vehicle to be the same one. They followed the car and called for assistance.
Near the intersection of Wolfe and Washington streets, officers attempted to stop the Mercedes. The driver refused to stop and officers continued to follow him with sirens on. The driver finally stopped, looked at the officers, made a move to run over one officer and drove away. One of the officers fired a shot at the Mercedes, breaking the driver’s side window and striking Coward in the left shoulder. Coward continued north on Washington Street at a high rate of speed with officers in pursuit. Officers estimated that Coward was driving 60 miles per hour, going northbound in the southbound lanes of Washington Street.
At the intersection of Washington and King, Coward hit a 1993 Ford Escort, causing significant property damage. Coward continued west on King Street, striking a 1988 Suzuki truck at the corner of King and Alfred streets, causing additional damage.
At this point, the Mercedes came to a stop. Coward climbed through the driver’s side window and began running north on Alfred Street. He was apprehended after an officer observed the defendant’s feet disappearing into a large metal dumpster.
Coward faces additional felony charges in Prince Georges County for the carjacking which left him in possession of the Mercedes.